Since 1900, Owensboro Municipal Utilities has provided power to your home or business. We work every day to bring you reliable, affordable energy.

Until 2020, OMU produced power for our community with the Elmer Smith Station. In 2019 and 2020, OMU closed the coal-producing plant’s two units due to energy market pricing, the increased maintenance of an aging plant and costly environmental requirements.

Upon the plant’s closure, OMU entered into a supply agreement with Big Rivers Electric Corporation. Power purchased from BREC, along with a long-term contract for hydropower from the Southeast Power Administration, meetings the power needs of our customer-owners.

The OMU team is now conducting an updated integrated resource plan and study to determine the most reliable and cost-effective option upon the end of the purchase power agreement with BREC in 2027. This detailed process will consider multiple options and combinations for a power supply going forward.

Elmer Smith Station History

The Elmer Smith Station began production in 1964. The plant was shut down in 2020. Currently it is in the process of being demolished.

Since 1964, OMU has operated its own coal-fired electric generating facility, the Elmer Smith Station, located on Highway 144.

Although the plant was maintained for efficient and reliable operation, operation and maintenance costs significantly increased in recent years.  Increasing costs of compliance with new and emerging environmental requirements along with historically low natural gas prices and wholesale power market prices remaining at low levels, and increasing use of renewables were also determining factors in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) resulting in the decision that the long-term continued operation of the units was no longer in the best interest of OMU. 

As a result, ESS Unit 1 was shut down in June 2019 and ESS Unit 2 was shut down on May 29, 2020.  OMU has entered into a Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) with Big Rivers Electric Company (BREC) beginning in June 2020 through the end of 2027.  During this time, OMU will perform another Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) study to determine the best option for supplying power to its customers in the future.

OMU initially developed a two-year decommissioning plan for ESS that began in June 2020 and would be completed by the end of FY 2022.  In addition to the ESS Power Plant, the Plant 1 Power Plant, and Plant A Water Treatment (both located next to Daviess County Middle School) will be demolished.  The demolition of ESS is expected to take approximately 12 months while the demolition of Plant 1 and Plant A is expected to take approximately 18 months.

Rules and Regulations for OMU Electric Service

Owensboro Municipal Utilities has developed rules and regulations governing electric service.

These rules and regulations apply to all customers, prospective customers, their employees, and agents, and to any contractors, electricians, architects, and others performing work on, near, or related to OMU facilities.